On May 29, 2011, President Obama visited Joplin, Missouri , the site of a devastating tornado that killed 140 and pronounced it a terrible “tragedy”. But were the deaths the inevitable result of ‘natural events’ beyond the human intervention?
Coincidentally the same week Afghan President Karzai condemned the killing of a family of 14 by a NATO fighter bomber, running the total to several hundred civilians killed so far this year and thousands over the decade.
The relation between the civilian deaths in Joplin and Afghanistan raises fundamental questions about the priorities, character and direction of the US Empire and the future of the American republic.
Geography of Tornados: … //
… Listen America, Their message is loud and clear:
Small towns and trailer parks do not count! You have your 2nd amendment (the ‘right to bear arms’), you have your ‘small government’, and you have your flags: ‘Wav ‘em and weep’ as tornadoes blow down your houses and your sons and daughters return wrapped in flags to the Battle Hymn of the Empire!
One might argue that community storm shelters won’t break the Treasury or reverse the empire. More to the point, their absence, from the federal, state and local political agenda, is emblematic of the total subordination of domestic America to imperial Washington . The ‘cost’ of building community shelters at the strip malls and trailer parks in Joplin , Missouri is less than a regional training outpost in Kandahar , Afghanistan . It is not a question of money.
Conquering Afghanistan villages enhances the prestige of the Generals, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and NATO officials. Can saving 145 lives in Joplin , Missouri match that in terms of world politics or the politics of imperial leadership? For Afghanistan , Washington builds a thousand military shelters and bomb proof bunkers .For the Americans living in tornado alley and the flood plains of the Mississippi people must make do.
When you hear the tornado warning, it’s up to you. As a proud, free American you can find a rock to crawl under and say your prayer: the Federal government and Homeland Security have the Endless, World-wide War against Terror to fight and cannot be bothered by a Joplin , Missouri nursing home in the path of a tornado.
We exaggerate: Obama will jet in and speak before the cameras in solemn terms of the ‘tragedy’ and ‘courage’ of the people of Joplin … But will any local politician stand up and speak truth to power? Most of these deaths and (many more to come) are avoidable; under a democratic American republic, the government ‘intervenes’ to provide protection, health and employment for its people.
In the meantime, as the empire continues to grow it destroys its own people, just like the sow that devours its offspring. (full text).